Broncos need more from '09 draft class

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels and G.M. Brian Xanders did a great job with their first free agent class, picking up Brian Dawkins, Andre Goodman, Renaldo Hill, Jabar Gaffney, and Correll Buckhalter. They all made big impacts.

McDaniels’ first rookie class wasn’t so lucky.  The Denver Post notes in an excellent article Friday that the Broncos received very little production from their rookies considering they had five picks in the first two rounds and ten picks overall.

Knowshon Moreno was the only starter among them; Frank Schwab’s favorite player was up-and-down.  Fellow first-rounder Robert Ayers was slow to develop.  Second-round picks safety Darcel McBath, cornerback Alphonso Smith, and tight end
Richard Quinn did even less.

McDaniels reached into the 2000 Belichick playbook by signing a high volume of low-cost veterans and watched a number of them stick.  The Broncos also spent big in free agency this year.

It’s too early to call the ’09 Broncos draft class a bust.  They have time to develop, but McDaniels needs to get a lot more from them this season.  He also needs to show he can draft like his mentor does. 

Better yet, he should draft like his mentor used to.

42 responses to “Broncos need more from '09 draft class

  1. His problem was not reaching far enough into the Belichick play book by stealing signals and placing illegal microphones into his players helmets.

  2. mcbath seemed to impress more than smith
    as for ayers, he looks like a bust for denver
    jury’s out on knowshon but he looked anything but special

  3. it will be interesting to see how McDaniels does w/o Nolan. It was Denver’s D that got them off to a great start last year….time will tell.

  4. It’s a reach to suggest that Belechick has drafted well recently. He has had as many misses as he has hits. He is living off an earlier legacy when Scott Paoli was around – or an earlier coaching staff that developed their picks. There is evidence that as staff has left Foxborough over the years, BB has piled too much on his own plate recently and his skills are too diluted.

  5. When they lose Marshall, it will be a complete wash out. That dude dominates and it changes the field for defenses, McDaniels is in deep this year, this should test his fabric a little.
    Thankfully, I see almost exactly the opposite for my Chiefs.

  6. Yeah and considering they gave up a 1st this year to get Alphonso Smith, it looks even worse.

  7. Biggest mistake so far, Alphonso Smith…… Definitely not worth giving up a first rounder for

  8. @encinitasraider: You may be right…but then again, McClueless doesn’t have the awful track record Al Davis does in the draft. Gallery, JaMarcus Russell, Heyward-Bey come to mind….
    Will this be the year the Chiefs finish ahead of the Raiders & Broncos!?! If not, it won’t be too much longer.

  9. What? Robert Ayers a bust? How can that be? The Broncos so cleverly traded Jay Cutler for that pick and this years first. Oh and the Bears got a 5th round pick they used on some lowly receiver named Knox who was mistakenly voted to the pro bowl as an alternate KR. Weird…

  10. When you say draft like his mentor used to, do you mean Cozzy up to Nick Saban for draft advice?

  11. Knowskill is looking like a bust…he only started because Buckhalter was injured. He only averaged 3.8 yard per carry compared to Buckhalters 5.4 (same line, same plays) and he did not have 1 100 yard game.
    Ayers had 15 tackles the ENTIRE YEAR! Zero sacks, zero forced fumbles, and zero int’s.
    Smith was sooo bad they signed Ty Law off the scrap heap.
    Quinn…had zero catches the entire year.
    This draft could go down as the worst in the HISTORY of the NFL. Never has a team had 3 #1 picks in a year before…and McD missed on all of them. (Yes I can say we had 3 #1’s because we gave up a #1 for this year to get Smith).

  12. go back and look at the Broncos picks…they could have taken all 3 SC linebackers…Cushing, Matthews and Maualuga with their first 3 picks and be set there for 10 years…then taken Leshean McCoy with their 4th pick. Who is easily as good if not better than Moreno will be. Hindsight is 20/20, just saying.

  13. And Moreno, average as he was, could have been a player with more impact if he was anything aside from a RB, which they did not need. Horrible draft. Absolutely horrible squandering of a bunch of picks. You would have thought with that many picks, they could have lucked their way into productivity from at least one of them outside of Moreno. Haha though, suck it Donkey’s! Fail!
    -Bengal fan living in Denver

  14. @encinitasraider
    What are you talking about? Al Davis’ picks are considered busts early because most of the guys he picks are big reaches when they are drafted. Is DHB a bust, I guess the jury is still out but the guy had 9 catches in 11 games for a grand total of 124 yards. That was good enough to rank him 17th in catches and yards for rookie WRs after being the 1st WR selected because he can run really fast in a straight line.
    Michael Huff was also picked 7th a few years ago and was in danger of being cut in training camp last year before having a decent season.
    Jarmarcus Russell has been terrible and hasn’t shown any signs of getting better. Do you really think it is unfair for people to call the 1st overall pick a bust when his career QB rating is 65.2 after 3 seasons?
    Darren McFadden hasn’t been much better with 856 yards russhing in 2 seasons. Probably too early to call him a bust but the clock is ticking and I haven’t really heard people calling him a bust, YET.
    That is a pretty bad set of players for a 4 year span of top 10 picks.

  15. …And it looks like Al Davis is a genius for picking Matt Shaughnessy in the 3rd round. And Trevor Scott in the 6th the year before. And don’t even get me started on all the late round gems the Raiders have turned into starting caliber football players the last few years. Yea, they aren’t a winning team…YET, but the core of the Raiders has 3 or less years experience and they are ALL handpicked by Al Davis. Write a story about that Florio. I guess you will have to after next season. And for the record – Tim Kawakami gets his information from Mike Lombardi, and Mike Lombardi was never a Raider, and also has no inside info on the Raiders. Why do you think he squirms in his chair and his eyes get real shifty when talking about them. He’s scared.

  16. One of the roots of the Bronco’s problems though stares right at you in Rosenthal’s original article.
    Sign Buckhalter (and Jordan and someone else to I think) and then draft Moreno
    Sign a safety and draft a safety…
    Sign a CB and draft a CB…
    It’s as if McDbag wasn’t sure on any of them so he figured there was going to wind up safety in numbers.
    Robert Ayers though… everyone was calling him a bust before the draft even started. Then they take no-namer’s from that point forward. Baffling off season strategy. It was fun calling into the local radio stations to skewer them, much to the agreements of the hosts as well, might I add…

  17. Better yet ry82274..we could have taken Orakpo at 12….you know, the defensive rookie of the year?!

  18. @broncosteviep
    Too true. Good points. I don’t mean to hate on the Donkey’s so hard, but damn… what a colossal eff up! I called into the Fan numerous times to tell them the Broncos were a fraud when they were undefeated and guys like Al Williams would shoot me down, saying that’s not possible. Even though I love listening to Big Al, he was WRONG! I had em pegged correctly in the end. That was one of the biggest frauds to start a season EVER!
    There’s definitely a dart board in McDaniels office, and not an ounce of common sense.

  19. Midway Monster…how did you like those 26 picks and 7-9 record with Cutler?
    Get use to it

  20. Hindsight is 20/20…but it was easy to tell that Denver had a bad draft after every pick they made. It would have been more surprising to see some of these players do well. Moreno was the only player I was surprised to see perform as poorly as he did.
    Trading away a future 1st looked terrible at the time. The Quinn pick made 0 sense at the time…as this guy also was a nonfactor at UNC
    As it has been noted…losing Mike Nolan hurts them the most. They surprised the NFL with their defense, but they are in a free fall and it doesn’t look good this time around.

  21. I think it’s incredibly foolish to rush to judgment on a draft class after one year. What happened to waiting to see how a player developed before crying bust? The Steelers have almost always “redshirted” their rookies to let them sit a year and learn. Polamalu, Mendenhall (although to be fair his rookie year was derailed at the start by Ray Lewis), Timmons, and Ziggy Hood are all recent examples. Ben is the exception to the rule.

  22. I’m not sure it’s fair to call most of these guys busts… reaches for where they were drafted, yes, without a doubt, but perhaps not busts.
    The five were playing behind very talented vets on a team that was trying to make the playoffs all year, not a team that was rebuilding and willing to spend game time developing young talent. Add to that McDaniel’s falling from a tree that shows a deep preference for vets, and it makes sense.
    The line “draft like his mentor does” made me laugh, too. It’s not like he hasn’t had bad draft years as well… Laurence Maroney and Chad Jackson anyone?
    Point is, nothing that’s happened should be surprising anyone.

  23. obviously its too early to make a final judgement on last years draft but it sure didnt inspire confidence from me..
    Moreno will probably be a decent runner but I didnt see anything to indicate he is an elite talent…only play I recall Ayers making all year was a personal foul
    Smith & Quinn were total head scratchers…everyone talked about how Chicago got fleeced in the Cutler trade but its what you do with the picks…still cant understand trading a first to get a CB in the second round or this years 3rd for a blocking TE in the second round
    they had a good blocker in Graham & now they will probably dump Scheffler who is a good receiver with upside
    lots of mocks have them getting Dez Bryant…so if they trade Marshall who was a 4th round steal essentially they will have lost Cutler/Marshall/Hillis/Scheffler from the offense replacing them with Orton/Brady Quinn/Moreno/Richard Quinn & a CB…
    doesnt make much sense to me…seems a bad idea to keep trading talent for draft picks thus creating needs they need to fill with those picls

  24. Alpohonso Smith is a bust. 100%. He’ll go the way of Tye Hill here in another year or two. He can’t cover (See Jamarcus Russel’s game winning TD pass in Denver) and he reportedly enjoys the night life more than the film room and practice field.
    I still think Moreno has a ton of untapped potential. He reminds me a lot of Joseph Addai and I think he will be much improved when Denver solidifies the interior offensive line. He’s not a guy who is going to take it 80 yards to the house, but he will consistently make the 1st guy miss.
    Ayers was learning to play a new position so I will give him another year or two before I judge his body of work. He did show flashes of sideline to sideline athleticism, but we’ll definitely need more production in 2010.
    McBath looked very promising before he got hurt. As for Quinn, well, I just don’t know why we moved up to get a blocking TE. Still a head scratcher.

  25. Besides Mayo, Volmer and possibly Butler, when is the last time his mentor has hit in the draft? The 06 and 07 drafts were a joke.

  26. The jury is still out. After the Broncos solve their interior line problems, chances are good that Moreno will perform well.
    Seth Olsen will start at center this season. Ayers will start at OLB this season. Darcel McBath has a ton of potential and will eventually start at safety.
    If those four guys turn out to be productive starters, the ’09 class is a successful one.
    re: Ayers, he was learning a new position last year. I can’t think of many defensive lineman who converted to linebacker their first year in the NFL and succeeded.

  27. I love these kinds comments. Everyone knows EXACTLY how to fix the team. Everyone here are experts. Well, the fact is that the professional NFL teams hire teh BEST and smartest people to draft and build teams. The problem is that it is EXTREMELY hard to build a team and I doubt any of you can do it any better.

  28. “The Denver Post notes in an excellent article Friday that the Broncos received very little production from their rookies considering they had five picks in the first two rounds and ten picks overall.”
    Rosenthal, you can’t be serious…an excellent article?
    This article is precisely the type of garbage that comes from Jones, Klis & Kiszla on a routine basis.
    Not one word in the article suggests the Broncos, read McDaniels & Xanders, “might”, just might have made even one drafting error with this class. Five picks in round 1 & 2 and they didn’t get one right on a value for the cost basis. Is that mentioned in Jones’s article, hell no. But you correctly point it out and suggest some of the blame might be on the Broncos front office.
    Once again a Denver Post reporter blames something on the player as opposed to the Broncos organization. Objective reporting on the Broncos from the DP, yeah right don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

  29. It’s funny, but I see a lot of crap talk from the rest of the AFC West, as we all know the Chargers continue to be the favorite, but they have also begun to deteriorate from there former selves, you know…the ones that can barely win in the playoffs. The Chiefs are starting to come together, got to credit them…but I feel that the future of the west will once again be between KC and Denver, Weis and McDaniels are student and teacher with very similar philosophical aspects to how they approach the game. Oakland will remain in the cellar as long as Al Davis has control. Hopefully when he finally is not, they will change their uniforms and completely rebuild into a better franchise. I am a Denver fan and I hate McDaniels, the man is an imbecile but at the same time an okay coach…I expect in three years the Broncos to announce that he has been fired and likely that Mike McCoy will be named Head Coach or Steve Mariucci.

  30. What ever happened to waiting 4 years to judge a draft class?
    I guess stupid people need a newspaper to tell them what players played and didn’t in their 1st year.

  31. @broncosteviep
    Just taking it in stride pal. I would still take that trade every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Knox just ended up being a pleasant surprise.
    Truth be told I think a lot of the projections had the Bears taking Ayers with the very same pick. I wonder what he would have done in a convetional DE role in a 4-3. I am glad we dont have to find out. Of course there is another DE I am curious about this year…
    Good luck Bronco Nation.

  32. For comparisson/ context purposes, here were the top 5 draft picks from the other 3 teams in the division – big impacts in Year 1?
    Kansas City:
    Tyson Jackson
    Alex Magee
    Donald Washington
    Colin Brown
    Quinten Lawrence
    Darrius Heyward-Bey
    Mike Mitchell
    Matt Shaughnessy
    Louis Murphy
    Slade Norris
    San Diego:
    Larry English
    Louis Vasquez
    Vaughn Martin
    Tyronne Green
    Gartrell Johnson
    Doesn’t EVERY team need their rookie class to improve and contribute in their 2nd year? Wierd article.

  33. 2000TJ says:
    March 19, 2010 2:54 PM
    as far as drafting & building a team…seems to me there was a pretty solid foundation in Denver & has been for nearly 40 years…McD seems to think he took over one of the bottom feeders in the NFL that needs a total rebuilding job…
    obviously they needed to fix the defense but he had a championship caliber offense that he has dismantled
    as for the defensive moves they obviously improved the team from 2007/8 but had Goodman handled last years draft with the emphasis on defense & gotten talent like they got on offense in 2oo6/7 I think they would have done as well or better
    in reality the defense was pretty average last year

  34. Everyone knows EXACTLY how to fix the team. Everyone here are experts.
    They just rag on McDaniels cause he’s young, bright, successful, and had the nerve to dump Cutler, who they insisted was a franchise quarterback.

  35. @Joe
    I think the NFC West is the worst division in football right now. Especially after AZ lost Warner. AFC West might be 2nd worst though.

  36. Moreno produced exactly like they wanted and needed. He is not an every-down back but he can catch, run, and play a good bit if needed.
    He was worth the pick

  37. # TheWizard says: March 19, 2010 6:40 PM
    They just rag on McDaniels cause he’s young, bright, successful, and had the nerve to dump Cutler, who they insisted was a franchise quarterback.
    Mrs. McDaniels, Mrs. McDaniels, is that you?
    Uh, you might need to save some of your energy to defend Little Ben this year since Joshie elevated him to a position he too is unqualified for.
    Hopefully you taught these boys how to swim, because they’re both in over their heads.

  38. @ aious
    What team uses a 1st round pick for a running back that isn’t an every down back? I can’t think of one. Moreno was so bad at picking up the blitz that he was benched on 3rd downs for Lamont Jordan. Wow.
    @ Midway Monster
    I will be curious to see how Cutler does this year with Martz. Good luck to you…When Cutler said he wanted out of Denver I was glad to see him go, but he does have the physical talent to be great, just nothing upstairs to be great. Maybe Martz can fix it.

  39. Not getting Orakpo when he slipped to us was too much, especially when he definitely could’ve helped when jamaal charles was knocking us out of the playoffs. If Rolando McClain happens to slip to us this year, we CANNOT miss

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